#SocialSaturday - Contributors and Collaborators, Thank You

#SocialSaturday - Contributors and Collaborators, Thank You

#SocialSaturday - Contributors and Collaborators, Thank You

Karen E Ross
Karen E Ross
a year ago

Stage 32's community is more than a safe space for creatives to find support and encouragement. It is the breeding ground for valuable insight and potential partnerships. This is entirely based on our collective agreement to add value in every endeavor. To each of you who have posted your victories, offered congratulations, or been an unwavering cheerleader in the Stage 32 Lounges, thank you. To those who have shared your hopes, goals, fears, and failures, you are seen and appreciated. To everyone who takes the time to share your insights, experiences, advice, and resources, your generosity is deeply appreciated. When you contribute to this community, you invite collaboration, and there is no greater affirmation of success in this industry than a healthy collaboration.

The tone and tenor of our online exchanges have never been more imperative. Due to the loneliness of the pandemic, people are spending more time on social media platforms. Unfortunately, this means people are more susceptible to the effects as well. This article from VeryWellMind highlights all the ways online negativity can build up and cause problems, but this is precisely why Stage 32 has become such an uplifting place. Let's review the key points, as stated in the article, and how Stage 32 nurtures the best online community:

  1. No Anonymity - Many corners of the internet allow you to use handles, fake names, or company names, but not on Stage 32. We require the individual contributor's first and last name so that each member can be held responsible for their conduct within the community. *Yes, pen names are acceptable, so long as you have previously published under that name.
  2. Humanization - We want to get to know you, your hopes and dreams, and be part of your process. We want to get to know you first and your work second. Without this empathy, we would likely tear each other apart in an already challenging and demanding industry. We're all in this together!
  3. No Mob, Only Love - We don't endorse negativity, and neither does the rest of the community. If you bring the hate, our mob doesn't jump on the negativity train; we squash it with love and encouragement! We also totally get those bad days, so don't worry about hiding when you're not at your best. We're here to help you get better!
  4. Encouraging the Rotating Door - We're not interested in creating a cycle of addiction where you can't do anything but be on the platform. We want you to come back and network on Stage 32, sure, but while you're here, we want you to get charged up for going back out into the world and do the work. We're not just here to talk about the work. All of us are here because we are either in the industry or making concerted efforts to be in it.

SocialSaturday  Contributors and Collaborators Thank You

"Yo, K-Dawg, I know all that already. That's why I'm on Stage 32!" Brilliant! But let's address the elephant in the blog, shall we? No matter where you are online, you may still find commentators. Let me be clear - we are all commenters, as we have to post comments to contribute or collaborate. Commentators, however, have no interest in giving anything of value nor having a productive conversation around the subject. Instead, they sit at a distance, judge, and are more likely to share hurtful, unconstructive thoughts with those of us doing the work. Why you may ask?

Ted Lasso says it best, "Guys have underestimated me my entire life and for years I never understood why – it used to really bother me. But then one day I was driving my little boy to school and I saw a quote by Walt Whitman, it was painted on the wall and it said, 'Be curious, not judgmental.' I like that... So I get back in my car and I'm driving to work and all of the sudden it hits me – all them fellas that used to belittle me, not a single one of them was curious. You know, they thought they had everything figured out so they judged everything and they judged everyone. And I realized that their underestimating me – who I was had nothing to do with it."

And there you have it. Please don't waste another minute of your life on commentators because it has nothing to do with you. So, let's talk about what is about you and what is of most significant value to you in the Stage 32 Community: contribution and collaboration.

SocialSaturday  Contributors and Collaborators Thank You

The Value of Contribution

The essence of a "contribution" is a statement. It's someone saying, "look at what I found," "look at what I figured out," "learn from my experience," or "learn from this other person's experience." How many people here have purchased the DVD or Blu-ray of their favorite film or series to watch the special "behind the scenes" bonus features? Or better yet, the commentaries? How much have you learned from that peek behind the curtain? How energized did you become from seeing all the work to make the project?

The best part about being in a community of film and television professionals is that we can all share our "behind the scenes" as a unique contribution. This can be in the form of wisdom gleaned from experience as one producer notes "How to Get Struck By Lightning" or in the form of observations from someone else's experience as another filmmaker shares an "Important Read If You're About to Produce Your Own Project." This is the stuff once hoarded by production companies to make a little extra money with home video sales, and now we get to enjoy it for free!

But what of us who are not in production? There is still great value in sharing resources you have discovered, like "The Art of Film Funding PODCAST," or even illuminating something you've deduced, such as "An E-Z Cheat to Find Film Funders" (this one is so simple, yet often overlooked). While not every post begins a conversation, each contribution still brings incredible value to others and thus to the community.

The most outstanding value of contributions, though, is when your creative cup overflows. At some point in your journey, and hopefully, more often than just once, you do not require constant absorption of others' contributions. Instead, you have seen and done some amazing things, and you begin to see how you, too, can contribute. One such successful director/producer often contributes to the community through thoughtful posts such as this one about locations. This is the greatest gift - giving back to the people that gave you so much. In what ways do you feel you can "pay it forward"?

SocialSaturday  Contributors and Collaborators Thank You

The Scope of Contribution

While you may be familiar with Stage 32's lounges, we also host panel discussions, special webcasts, and even networking events. These events, like the upcoming Film Finance Summit, are also free. For professionals to spare their time to offer insight and advice without charge is an invaluable resource. Such a contribution breeds the kind of gratitude that abounds in the community.

What you may not know, however, is that we have a plethora of high-level professionals not just on the site or hosting events but in the lounges. Producers for Netflix, legendary musicians, and even the very executives you may be pitching to through the site. The Stage 32 team are professionals in the industry, yet you'll still see RB, Amanda, and Jason posting and commenting. Why would they be hanging out with us? Because we all need the boost of energy that comes from a supportive community. As our own Jason Mirch writes, the A-list production companies we work with want to know what we think, too!

For anyone who thinks that a like, a share, or a kind word has no value, remember just how much you want people to rally behind your work when you release your project. Your contribution doesn't have to be epic or top-down to be impactful. Sometimes the best thing you can be for someone else is an attentive audience.

SocialSaturday  Contributors and Collaborators Thank You

Asking Questions Invites Collaboration

Ultimately, a contribution is a one-off. You go in, say your peace or do your thing, and then walk away. Valuable? Absolutely. Collaborative? Not really. The essence of "collaboration" requires both a contribution and a mutual agreement to listen and process what has been offered to make the best possible choice for the project. If a contribution is a statement, then the heart of collaboration is asking questions to create a conversation.

Now, this escalation certainly does not devalue contributions. Consider the difference, however, between someone creating a post offering insight into what they have learned about applying to grants versus someone who posts asking for that insight? Asking for assistance gives others a chance to contribute, a generous invitation on their part, but also gives both parties a neutral space to see what it is like to work together to solve a problem. In other words, the early stages of collaboration.

Of course, when you ask for help, it could simply be a request for information and nothing more. What you contribute, however, may influence the outcome of the project. That alone is a powerful incentive to contribute. This post asking for marketing advice, for example, could gain quite an advantage with helpful insights from the community, even if it's too late in the process to be considered a collaboration. Consider the Ted Lasso approach, though. Curiosity may be the key to collaboration.

As you can imagine, it comes up a lot. Like all the time. "How do you meet people?" "How do you connect with collaborators?" "How do you make it in the industry?" Start by reading others' contributions, expressing gratitude for their time, and finding small ways to contribute in return. Until then? Barbecue sauce.

No matter where you are in your process, you are always welcome to start the conversation in the Stage 32 Lounges! Not sure where to start? You can DM me or email me at K.Ross@stage32.com For now, why not start with the links above? Click, read, comment, and start a post of your own.

Speaking of reaching outside your wheelhouse, let’s get the rest of the socials a glimpse of what is to come! Share this blog, include the hashtags #SocialSaturday #Stage32 and #ContentGoldRush, and tag @k.osswrites, @rbwalksintoabar, and @stage32. Keep your eyes to the skies, and I look forward to seeing each of you in the lounges!

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About the Author

Karen E Ross

Karen E Ross

Filmmaker, Producer, Screenwriter, Script Consultant, Voice Actor, Actor

Kay Ross is an actor, producer, writer, and champion for the "inner teenager.” While being a producer on a television show like Netflix’s “Sex Education” would be a dream realized, for now, she kicks ass on shorts, features, and hosts a weekly IGLive to empower creatives called “The Victory Round.”...

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